Baseball splits Friday doubleheader with Presbyterian

Ben McQuown (photo by Bennett Scarborough)
Ben McQuown (photo by Bennett Scarborough)

BUIES CREEK – Campbell took a victory in Friday's opening game 8-6 as Ryan Mattes picked up a save in the team's fourth consecutive game, but Presbyterian rallied late to take the nightcap 3-1 and earn a doubleheader split. The rubber game of the series will take place Saturday at 1 p.m. as both teams compete in their regular season finale.

CU will be playing for an outright second place finish in the Big South during Saturday's matchup, and the team will also honor its seniors in a pre-game ceremony. Jimmy Brenneman, Kyle Holmstrom, Josh Holskey, Erick Gaylord, Matt Sergey and Frank Zier will all be recognized for their Camel careers.

Friday was also "Johnny Parker Day" in Buies Creek, as Campbell Baseball honored the father of former student-athlete Colin Parker (class of 2011). Johnny is battling cancer, and efforts from a raffle and gift auction helped to raise over $12,500 to support the Parker family in medical costs. "We are extremely grateful to the Campbell Baseball family for helping us make this night a success as we support Johnny Parker and his family," Stuart Watlington, one of the event's organizers, said.

Game 1: Campbell 8, Presbyterian 6

Five different Camels posted two hits in Friday's opener as Campbell rallied from a 4-0 deficit to take the 8-6 victory. CU used a four-run fifth inning to take the lead for reliever Paul Eyster, (3-1) who picked up the win. Matt Marksberry and Ryan Mattes closed out the Blue Hose over the final two innings to seal the win. Mattes picked up his tenth save of the season in pitching a perfect ninth inning.

PC scored four runs (three unearned) off starter Matt Sergey in the third inning. The Camel defense committed three errors in the frame that began with a leadoff walk and infield single. Sergey was able to get a strikeout and fly-out to end the inning, and departed after tossing three innings of three-hit baseball while striking out two batters.

Campbell immediately answered in the bottom of the third, cutting the deficit in half on a two-RBI single from David Olson that plated Ben McQuown and Michael Felton. The Fighting Camels evened the score an inning later, courtesy of a sacrifice fly from Erick Gaylord and an RBI single from Felton.

The decisive fifth inning began with a double down the rightfield line from Nick Ray. Ben Fish put the Camels in front with his RBI single to bring Ray to the plate. After a sacrifice bunt, Brent Graham, McQuown and Felton all tallied RBI singles to give CU the 8-4 advantage.

Eyster tossed four innings of middle relief, surrendering three hits and two runs to go along with three strikeouts. PC first baseman Kenny Bryant's two-run homer in the seventh was the only damage done off the CU bullpen, and Marksberry struck out two batters during his eighth inning on the mound.

Game 2: Presbyterian 3, Campbell 1

Presbyterian tied the game on Kenny Bryant's solo blast in the eighth inning and took the lead with two runs in the ninth as the Blue Host rallied for a 3-1 win in the nightcap to earn a doubleheader split. The late rally spoiled another great outing from CU starter Frank Zier, who scattered six hits and the one run over 7.1 innings of work and struck out five batters.

Campbell got off to a fast start, with Brenneman and McQuown recording singles to start the game. Jake Kirkland singled home Brenneman to put the Camels in front early, but PC starter Chandler Knox got out of the frame without any more damage. Knox allowed only four more hits over his final six innings of work, keeping CU from adding to its lead.

Zier worked out of trouble in the sixth inning after allowing the first two batters of the inning to advance on a hit by pitch. After recording two strikeouts, Zier loaded the bases with a walk, but he induced a fly-out to end the frame.

After recording the first out of the eighth inning, Bryant blasted his second home run of the day to tie the game at 1-1. Zier was replaced one batter later after allowing a double down the right field line, and Mattes entered and escaped the inning after two strikeouts.

The Blue Hose got consecutive singles to start the game-winning spurt in the ninth inning. After Mattes struck out Gabe Grammer, leading hitter Billy Botroni singled through the left side to score both runners as PC took a 3-1 lead.

Grammer entered from the outfield to close out the bottom of the ninth and retired all three Camel batters he faced to pick up the save. Tim Corbin (2-0) earned the win after tossing one inning of relief, while Mattes took the loss in falling to 4-3 on the season, going 1.2 innings and allowing three hits and two runs, while striking out three batters.